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Ethiopian Airlines crash: Plane with 157 on board crashes on way to Nairobi from Addis Ababa

Prime minister's office offers 'deepest condolences' to families affected by incident

Tom Embury-Dennis,Simon Calder
Sunday 10 March 2019 09:50 GMT
Ethiopian Airlines crash

An Ethiopian Airlines flight believed to be carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members has crashed shortly after taking off from the capital Addis Ababa, the airline has said.

The Boeing 737 flight ET 302 was travelling from Bole International Airport to Nairobi, in neighbouring Kenya, when it crashed on Sunday morning.

In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said the flight lost contact with the control tower at 8.44am local time, just six minutes after take-off, and suffered an "accident" near the town of Bishoftu, which is around 30 miles from Bole airport.

"At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties," the statement said.

"Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services."

In its own statement, the Ethiopian prime minister's office offered its "deepest condolences" to families affected by the incident.

The airline said it was confirming the number of passengers on board, but it "believed" there were 149.

Ethiopian Airlines has flown between London Heathrow and Addis Ababa for decades.

The airline is regarded as Africa’s leading carrier, with a well-run and profitable network and an excellent safety record.

Ethiopian Airlines’ maintenance standards are outstanding. It operates the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world, the Airbus A350, on the link between Heathrow and Addis Ababa.

It has recently expanded in the UK with a link from Manchester to the Ethiopian capital.

Navy divers recover cockpit voice recorder of Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October

The two-hour flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, covering 721 miles, is a regular link with four departures a day in each direction.

The aircraft involved is the Boeing 737, which has an excellent safety record overall. This particular aircraft, registration number ET-AVJ, was only four months old.

It was the most up-to-date MAX variant, the same as was involved in a Lion Air crash in October shortly after take-off from Jakarta airport in Indonesia with the loss of 189 lives.

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